Digital Audience Targeting: Which Types Should You Target?

Last modified:
Sophie Monks

Senior Social Specialist

No matter what industry, the vast majority of marketers share a common problem: making sure their marketing budget isn’t being wasted by advertising to the wrong people. This was summed up by John Wanamaker in his infamous quote:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

However with a clear understanding of our audience and advanced targeting abilities, this shouldn’t be the case.

In this helpful guide, I’ll chat you through the many facets of audience targeting.


Affinity Audiences

Affinity audiences are built for businesses who are currently running a television campaign, and are looking to expand into the wonderful world of online advertising.

By targeting prospective customers in line with their interests (not matter how strange), advertisers ensure that the right people are seeing, and engaging with, their product or service.

How do affinity audiences work?

Data is collected as users engage with pages, applications, channels, videos and content across YouTube, the Google Display Network and YouTube search results.

This information is then collated and used to build a profile of who they are, and what advertisements can be tailored to their personality and preferences.

Disclosure: Not in a 1984ish way.

While affinity audiences are still relatively general in comparison to other targeting tools, it certainly allows advertisers to scale their marketing and cast a wide metaphorical net across those who are interested in their product or service.

With this information, advertisers are then able to construct a large potential customer base, and further segment the demographics in order to target those who are at different stages of the conversion funnel.

Custom Affinity Audiences

In using both free-form interests entered as keywords and URLs in order to establish a theme, custom affinity audiences allow advertisers to use a prospective customer’s previously established interests to tailor campaigns toward more specific consumers.

For example, Nike may use affinity audiences to target those who have shown interest in gyms or athleisure wear, but by using custom affinity audience targeting, the company can instead focus their campaign on a more specific demographic such as marathon runners, who are more likely to engage with high quality sport shoe adverts.


In Market Audiences

In-Market audience targeting is aimed at those customers who are further down the conversion funnel. They have at some point, actively considered purchasing a product or engaging with a service that is similar to what your company sells or provides.

How do In Market Audiences Work?

By using an algorithm that analyses the search behaviour of prospective customers, the software identifies whether users are researching with the intention to purchase, or just having a look around.

Whilst you are able to target pre-defined In-Market audiences, you may want to consider segmenting existing affinity audiences in order to re-engage with users who already aware of your brand. This in turn maximises its effectiveness and gives you full control of moving that user through the conversion funnel and toward your products or service.

At this point in the process, your marketing message should showcase exactly what your brand has to offer, alongside any promotions or unique selling points that will entice the user closer toward conversion.

Tip: Try creating a list of users who have previously engaged with your In-Market audience ads and add them as ‘bid only’ audience for search. This will allow you to collate data and ascertain whether those who engage with your display ads are still searching for your product or service.

Based on your click-through rate and average position, you’ll be able get a good idea of how strongly your brand is performing against other competitors in the same sector.

Similar Audiences

Building upon the work done by manually searching for users who may have interest in your product or service, similar audiences further casts the net by extending your advertising reach to users who may not have been spotted during the first search.

How Does Remarketing Come Into It?

Remarketing allows you to connect with users who have previously engaged with your site or advertisements. These users often share many characteristics with those who have already converted, and in remarketing, you’re able to retarget those prospective customers so long as their browsing habits still fit the similar audience’s criteria.

It’s That Simple?

Yeah, basically

It’s easy to get bogged down by audience targeting jargon, but as long as your ads are getting seen by people who actually want what you’re offering, whether consciously or subconsciously, then that’s half the battle.

If you’re worried that half your budget is being blown in some unknown advertising void, our Programmatic Media Buying guide helps shed some light on making your digital spend more targeted than ever before. Take a look!

cta prog

Share this on:


Sophie Monks

Senior Social Specialist

Sophie has over 6 years of experience in the social media and content space, working in both in-house organisations and agencies. She has worked with exciting established brands in her time such as Campari, Aperol Spritz, Oppo Ice Cream and PayPal Australia. She enjoys the content creation process – from mapping out the shot and…

See more written by this author: Sophie Monks

We’ll be your
proactive partner